Growing up, my mom and teachers always said that eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away. But does it really? Is this another one of those tales adults tell kids so they’ll eat healthier? We took the time today to investigate.
It turns out the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has been around since 1866 and was first seen in a Welsh publication as “Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” Pretty cool, huh?
Okay, so now that we know where the phrase came from, is the message accurate? Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? I don’t know about you, but I’ve visited too many doctors this year so if eating this helps me avoid another doctor visit, I’m all for it!
It turns out, yes, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. But, not just the apple. To get the health benefits, you have to eat the peel too. It’s because the skin contains these things called phytochemicals and these phytochemicals has anticancer and antioxidant properties. An apple peel has hundreds of phytochemicals that work together to keep you healthy. What’s more amazing is that Cornell University researchers found that 50 milligrams of apple extracted from the skins decreased colon cancer cell growth by 43%. The same amount of apple extract decreased liver cancer cell growth by 57%. That is wonderful news! Other studies have seen apples potentially reducing breast, prostate, pancreatic and bowel cancer risk. I’m sure we’ll all shout for joy when cancer is eradicated and this may be one small step in that direction.
In general, one apple with skin contains about 4 grams of fiber, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. If you eat 10 grams of fiber daily, this may decrease the risk of developing heart disease by 14%. Fiber from fruit is better than fiber from cereal. Something to think about as you eat your breakfast tomorrow.
Now that we’ve established that apples are good for you, the next question becomes which apple? Green or red? Does it matter? I’m glad you asked. It does matter if you’re concerned with gut bacteria. Granny Smith apples (the green ones) contain a lot of dietary fiber and polyphenols. These don’t get digested in your stomach and once they reach your colon, they ferment and promote the growth of health bacteria in your gut, which helps with your digestion and reduces inflammation. For those with acid reflux, this is your solution!
Based on this investigation, our conclusion is this – exercising daily along with eating a healthy diet that’s composed of vegetables and fruits like apples and avocados can help you live problem free longer.
Given all these benefits, maybe it’s time for another trip to the grocery store.